Volume 40,   Issue 2                             February  2005

The Farnady Files

R-E-S-P-E-C-T
   
Giving a Little Something Back to Homeowners

by Dez Farnady

In a recent issue of this magazine a columnist (who will remain nameless) was extremely rude and critical of homeowners. It was the first time I’d ever been referred to as “homeowner” when the word had the distinct ring of an insult. I think homeowners deserve more concern and better treatment from any business that depends on us for a large percentage of its revenue. 

Meeting My Needs
Just as in any other business, the glass business has the responsibility to service and teach the buyer the basic information required for any informed decision. Patience is not only a virtue, but also an absolute necessity in any exchange with the general public, particularly in retail sales. When I am prepared to spend my hard-earned money, I expect customer service of the highest order. "I expect the seller, be he glazier or contractor, to exercise the most basic elements of good customer service and to put himself in my place. I know what my needs and requirements are and I expect my supplier to address those issues. "

I have a right to expect the seller to remember what happens to him when he goes shopping outside his area of expertise, such as when buying a computer, a helicopter or maybe needing brain surgery. Somebody has to help, and the most obvious choice is the one who is selling the helicopter or brain surgery. Unlike doctors, lawyers and computer service people, I also expect my contractor to be able to guarantee his work and take responsibility for the consequences of his errors or omissions.

No Small Purchase
As a homeowner with glass issues, to whom do I turn for the privilege of spending my money in the most intelligent and effective way possible? Experts are hard to find in any field. There are the well-intentioned unqualified, the incompetent, the misinformed as well as the shills and hustlers around every corner. Regardless of the product, construction industry deals are usually not small-ticket items. If I go out and price a window it looks like a couple of hundred bucks. So how come when I want an installed price for the same window, it comes in looking like a couple of thousand bucks? And that’s only a cheap window. What happens when I want to replace all of my single-pane windows to reduce my energy costs? Will insulating my windows keep out the heat?

If the vendor thinks I am an annoyance and being a homeowner is a mark of stupidity or incompetence, where am I supposed to go for help? Do I just wait till the contractor comes to me to buy the helicopter and get even with him by sticking him with a chopper at the price of a 747? That’s a heck of a way to do business. 

As a customer with money to spend I deserve customer service in a package that includes patience and competence with a sales person willing to understand my problem and my needs. I expect intelligent and knowledgeable questions to determine my needs, and recommendations that solve my problems at a fair and reasonable price. And as a mater of fact, homeowner or not, I also expect a little respect. 

The Author:
Dez Farnady serves as general manager of Royalite Manufacturing Inc., a skylight manufacturer in San Carlos, Calif. His column appears monthly.


USG
© Copyright Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.